Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Todd Stroger to replace father on November ballot

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, the Democratic committeeman for Evanston Township, backed Davis' candidacy though he knew the vote was a foregone conclusion.

"It's like professional wrestling,"
Schoenberg said after voting ended.
"You know who's going to win, and then they build the plot around it."

Unlike the anticipated outcome of Tuesday's meeting, no one is forecasting the result of the County Board's meeting on Wednesday. The 16 remaining commissioners will select an interim board president from among themselves to fill John Stroger's term, which expires Dec. 4.

Claypool, who attended the vote, said the actions of party leaders could portend problems in November.

"The ward bosses are treating the leadership of a $3 billion government that's responsible for public health and safety as a family heirloom to be passed down from generation to generation. It's not right, and I think there's a lot of anger out there and I think that it could come back to haunt the Democrats in the fall."

Full Story from The Tribune

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sunday's Tribune Asks: Why a Gay Games?

With every stop the Gay Games have made across the globe for the last 24 years, a simple question has followed. Why do gay people need their own Olympic-style competition? More...

Mary Schmich says....
Sports is rarely just about sports, and the Gay Games aren't just about the games. They're about all the ways gays continue to be stigmatized and limited, from the athletic field to the military to marriage.

"We can't serve--supposedly because we inhibit unit cohesion and make Marines nervous in showers," David said.

"We can't support our intimate relationships in marriage, lest we threaten the institution of marriage. We can't be out as teachers, or coaches, or baby-sitters, lest we corrupt the young."And openly gay athletes still don't get a fair shot at commercial endorsements or the other perks of athletic prowess.

That's not some distant yesterday. That's July 2006.It's been a generation since I knowingly met a gay person for the first time. A generation since the Gay Games started. A generation of huge, encouraging changes. And still not enough has changed.

Maybe the Games will have run their course when fear mongering about gays is no longer an effective political tactic.

"I guess the simple moral," David said, "is there's no need for a gay Olympics the day that there is no problem being who you are in the regular ones."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Already tiffs about plan for LaSalle Street

Tribune --Few dispute the commercial weakening of the LaSalle Street neighborhood, where office rents have declined and vacancies have climbed to 40 percent, or even 60 percent. Most also agree that its historic architecture, which includes 10 city landmarks, defines what Chicago taste, past and personality are all about.

"Many of [these buildings] are really historic," the mayor said at a City Hall press conference Wednesday. "We don't want them all taken down," which, he noted, "developers would love to do."
But some wonder whether it is the best strategy to make LaSalle Street one of the city's 143 Tax Increment Financing districts, in which tax revenue is diverted from various municipal departments for revitalization work.

I hope it helps these old buildings, they need it," said Peggy McTigue, a senior vice president overseeing downtown leasing here for the Dallas-based Trammel Crow Co. But, she asked, "Should we pull money away from schools? No one will be working if we don't have a good education system. If an old building isn't architecturally significant, why should we put the money in?"

TIF specialist Jeff Chapman, a professor of public affairs at the University of Arizona at Tempe, said that such tax policy succeeds if it is well planned."But one must ask: is it really necessary or will the market work without it?" Also, Chapman added, "Who gets hurt when taxes are rechanneled?"

David Merriman, a professor of economics at Loyola University Chicago, raised another question. "Will it be worth the cost if the investment doesn't pay off?" Then he queried, "Why not finance economic redevelopment as part of the regular city budget rather than sequestering tax receipts?"

" The city, its businesses and visitors will reap rewards from a TIF that helps preserve hand-fashioned masonry facades, upgrade antiquated mechanical systems and beautify crumbling streetscapes, said David Bahlman, president of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois."A LaSalle Street TIF would be terrific," he said.

"A TIF will provide a huge incentive for the very costly job of rehabilitating historic buildings and can be a springboard for the economic redevelopment of a whole area," he added.Since the 1980's many LaSalle Street office tenants have relocated to the West Loop and Wacker Drive. They find "more light, air, river views and easier transit access," said John O'Donnell, vice chairman of The John Buck Co.

"TIFs are an important way to generate money to keep the city healthy," McTigue added. "It just has to take in the interests of the entire business community."

The city is scheduled to hold a public review of the proposal Aug. 4 and a public hearing Sept. 12. more from The Tribune

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's Not About the Money

This article appeared in yesterday's Sun Times

Beavers could get 3 pensions
William Beavers' decision to trade his $98,125-a-year aldermanic paycheck for the $85,000-a-year salary paid to county commissioners might sound like a financial comedown. But it could be a ticket to a triple pension. Once he leaves the city payroll, Beavers can start collecting the police pension he earned, but wasn't qualified to receive after retiring from the Chicago Police officer's job he left a generation ago.

More important, Beavers will be eligible to collect an aldermanic pension of $78,500 a year.
That's 80 percent of the $98,125-a-year salary paid to City Council members.

Both pensions would be in addition to the $85,000-a-year County Board paycheck. If the 71-year-old alderman remains at the County Board for 10 years, he would also become eligible for a county pension -- at $68,000 a year or 80 percent of the county commissioner's salary. The bottom line: If Beavers lives long enough, he could get a triple government pension. more...

And today the reactions from every County Board member about Mr. Beavers' remarks
Entire County Board slaps Ald. Beavers

Hhmm...and not a word about the triple pension possibility.
I guess it isn't about the money.



Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Letter to the Rogers Park Review

Dear Gary,
Thank you so much for the nice story that you wrote about my husband, it was really a positive message. We appreciate your sincerity and good will in trying to get our name out to the public. I also appreciate that you took into consideration Deta's Cafe. She was truely happy and excited. On behalf of all of us we thank you again. Have a nice day.

Maria and Stanley Von Medvey


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Wrong Message

The following are excerpts from the Sun Times article on the Arbour Health Care Center housing convicted and registered juvenile sex offenders:

“Police determined that child sex offenders Angel Campos, James R. Carroll, Lynn Eichhorst and Gregory S. Kenlay should not live in the nursing home because it's within 500 feet of a playground, officials said.

A state inspection last week found that Arbour was not complying fully with a provision in the new law that requires nursing homes to house sex offenders in single-occupancy rooms to keep them from preying on vulnerable residents, officials said.

But Arbour seemed to be making an effort to comply with the spirit of the law, officials said.

Because of a lack of single-occupancy rooms, the nursing home housed the male sex offenders together in one room, while Eichhorst -- a woman convicted of having sex with three boys for whom she was baby-sitting -- was housed with other able-bodied women, authorities said.”

When I read this article yesterday, a few issues didn’t seem to make sense. First, Chicago Police clearly indicated that Arbour Health Care Center, which is located at 1512 West Fargo, was in violation of the “ within 500 feet” provision in the sex offender law. Yet state inspectors, according to the article, seemed to speak more about Arbour complying with the spirit of the law, when their inspection found several of the men living in the same room, which is apparently against state regulations.

Also, there seemed to be questions about how this park was used. Citing anonymous comments, investigators suggested that the small park was not used by kids in the neighborhood, but by adult dog walkers.

This out of the way park is 2 blocks from my house and I pass it all the time. Although it doesn’t have many kid friendly amenities as many other parks do and is basically an open lawn, I have seen kids playing in that park. I’ve seen the dog walkers and vagrants too. L. Dubkin Park is no different in how it is used than any other park. Besides, the sign clearly states “playground” as just about all other park signs do and there would be no other reason for an unsuspecting parent to think otherwise.

I walked off the distance this morning, from the entrance to the park, to the entrance to Arbour and it is approx. 300+- feet, door to door.

This law was written for good reasons and all the provisions should be complied with, to the letter, not just in spirit.

When officials who are responsible for upholding this law start splitting hairs citing vague reasons why this facility is complying with “the spirit” of the law or how a certain park is being used, they are sending the wrong message to victims, parents and our community.

Is it more important how the offenders are housed or where they are housed?

And btw, for those who live in the area, there is a registered juvenile sex offender listed on the CPD website on the 1500 block of Birchwood, which is also within 500 feet of L. Dubkin Park.

Gary Fuschi

Monday, July 10, 2006

Bush Says "This is a well-run city."

"For a long time, that's been good enough for lots of us. We've lived by the tacit principle that the highest civic good is a city that works, even if it takes a little wrongdoing to get the work done.Yeah, so the hiring process for tree-trimmers was rigged. How many people--besides rejected applicants, political rivals and professional moral guardians--were going to protest, as long as the trees got trimmed?

We could wink at the existence of a political machine as long as we didn't have to inspect the crud in the gears.

But the Sorich trial made the jury, and everyone in Chicago, look at the details of Chicago patronage--at the crud in the machinery.What the jury saw and helped many Chicagoans to see was a set of hiring practices that wasn't just biased, but fraudulent."

"We took the common man approach," said the jury foreman, S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"We asked the question, `How would a common person interpret that?' And, of course, the 12 of us are common people, so we went around and we all came to the exact same conclusion.
"Twelve citizens without any apparent political motive concluded: This is wrong.
More from the Tribune

I would like to have been the proverbial "fly on the wall" when the Presidents' spin meisters got together to discuss what he should say during his birthday visit to Chicago last week.

The Republican President first supports the lifelong Democrat Daley, endorses Republican gubernatorial candidate Topinka and then declares that
"This is a well-run city", fresh on the heels of a guilty verdict in the Sorich trial.

So, is the jury out of touch or is the President just a little confused?

Gary Fuschi